A Year In New York

A Daily Bite of the Big Apple

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Day 20: A Festival of Lights

July 16th · 2 Comments

They say the best thing about summer in New York is the free shows in Central Park, so after dark I walked to the Great Lawn to see for myself. The New York Philharmonic was playing and its website recommended arriving early with a blanket, and candles.

I arrived late and did not need the blanket, as the Lawn’s 13 acres was already jammed with tens of thousands of relaxed New Yorkers, engaged in a hum of conversation that made the strains of “Finlandia” difficult to hear. I had scoffed at idea of candles. Why carry something feeble and easily snuffed when I have a trusty LED headlamp? They’re all the rage in California.

Amazingly, in the multitude not a single headlamp shone back at me. Instead there were candles. Earlybirds had appointed their blankets with single candles or sometimes banks of them, illuminating the numerous bottles of wine. (Alcohol is another thing New Yorkers enjoy publicly, as the New York Times noted today).

I pressed forward until a steel barrier blocked the way. The Philharmonic was a raft of golden figurines floating on a dark sea of humanity, with the smattering of candles adding class to the whole affair. As a final piece the Philharmonic performed the William Tell Overture, the conductor’s batons leading the horns and strings at a gallop. The applause had barely died away when fireworks erupted from the south end of the park, sending plumes of blue and green through the warm July air.

My mouth hung open with wonder. Fireworks are better after the 4th of July, when you least expect them.

Tags: Entertainment · Sights & Scenes · Why I Love This Town

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 RizzoJ // Jul 17, 2008 at 2:26 am

    How romantic, Ferris… headlamp. tsk…tsk…

    Wine and open flames don’t really mix when in an open field in California. Not to mention the fireworks.

    But, check out New York – big bad city… gettin’ busy with the romance.

  • 2 Kimberly Winston // Jul 22, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    HEADLAMP???? WHY NOT JUST USE JOO’S LIPSTICK TO SCRAWL “TOURIST LOSER” ACROSS YOUR FOREHEAD??? Sheesh. But don’t you love the park? Go to the free Shakespeare. GET THERE EARLY. It is lovely to watch the sky change from twilight to dark while watching FREE Shakespeare with (usually) great actors.

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